Preview: Hull City vs Arsenal
By Randy Osae
Retaliation might be top of the regimen on Saturday but making up is a necessity in the title sprint and not for the big mock Phil Brown’s battalion inflicted four months ago.
How Arsenal scraped past Bolton last weekend greeted by a couple of title contestants sparing points justifies that the mean law of the race might be forgiving the Gunners after all when they initially lied 10 points adrift.
It could be slowly but surely for Arsenal.
Popular wisdom said five defeats by January is unacceptable for potential champions but success at the KC stadium will certainly make them earnest hopefuls.
When Wenger leads his men 209 miles across the country this weekend, even the sophisticated tactician will concede his side are still title outsiders and rightly so when the Gunners have been glued at fifth place since a draw with Middlesbrough.
Banana skins will be creeping at Hull for a derailing Arsenal slump at a time of lunging progress bit by bit. When the Gunners welcomed Hull in September, it was an odd 104-year event and the Gunners’ visit to the KC stadium tomorrow will be their first ever in history.
It’s apparent Hull are typical Premier League amateurs, but despite being on rusty form currently, the side who once mingled with the top three in October will be taken seriously by Wenger who is also convinced his side are at a capable state to keep up the dash.
“We want to continue our progress – it is not about revenge (referring to Hull’s shock 2-1 win at the Emirates in September).” Wenger said
“We feel we are on a good run and want to focus.
“I am confident that we look solid and have a team who can make results away from home.”
Arsenal’s run of seven games unbeaten has been translated into a return of ordinary form for the club, but statisticians and Arsenal’s nature against newly promoted clubs this season claim Hull make the fixture an even bet. Both clubs have won twice each and drawn once in a total five meetings between them.
None of Fabregas, Rosicky, Walcott and Eduardo will return anytime soon while temporal lay-offs Gallas and Silvestre remain out, but Alex Song could be back providing he passes a late fitness test.